Washington DC has joined the ranks of the many U.S states currently permitting the recreational use of cannabis. While many have celebrated these groundbreaking changes, it does not mean that the new laws do not come without their own set of restrictions. If you are hoping to enjoy recreational cannabis in the state of Washington DC, we suggest reading on for a closer look at their current rules and restrictions.
In order to enjoy cannabis recreationally, you must be an adult aged 21 years or older. Those of age may only possess up to two ounces of marijuana at a time. However, residents of Washington DC that are of age are permitted to cultivate up to six plants (with three mature at a time) within their residences. Residents are also allowed to give up to one ounce of marijuana to other residents that are of age. Holding more than two ounces of cannabis is strictly prohibited unless you have received a special prescription from a certified physician stating that your medical condition requires a higher dosage for treatment purposes.
Part of Washington DC’s more accepting laws included reducing the sentencing time for offenders of distribution, manufacturing or possession. Now offenders cannot be sentenced for more than 5 years in prison and cannot be fined more than $50,000.
Those looking to legally sell cannabis (as a distributor) must first be certified by the state. Dispensaries can be found throughout the District of Columbia, however in order to purchase from a dispensary, residents must have a certified medicinal marijuana card.
While the current laws have been in place since 2014, it’s important to remember that all cannabis laws throughout the country are consistently in transition. This means those looking to purchase, cultivate, or use cannabis for either recreational or medicinal reasons should always check with current laws prior to obtaining any. For many Washington D.C residents, there are still hopes for cannabis cafes, restaurants and recreational dispensaries in the future. However, for now, tourists and locals alike will have to wait and see.
DC Voices Have Little Say about Federal Cannabis Legislation
As we stated earlier, the legality of cannabis has some interesting relevance in Washington D.C., primarily because the population of the District does not get a vote in the presidential election. So, while it's not federally legal, the people who actually live in D.C. don't actually have their voices heard when it comes to legislative policies (outside of polls, of course.)
Sales of cannabis in other states and the money it brings in - whether it's from medical cannabis or recreational - will surely be a sticking point as states try to decide if legalization is worth it for them. Sure, there will be tons of money that will roll in, but while cannabis legalization is, by all accounts, safer than alcohol, there are still political ramifications that some elected official will have to contend with as they maneuver through the waters of this very tricky issue. Will it be legal everywhere over time? Yes, there's almost no doubt about that. The genie is out of the bottle in most places and the law will almost surely follow. The old saying "follow the money" is as true when it comes to cannabis as it is with everything else. And the money we're talking about here is in the billions of dollars. Yes, that's with a b. And what a lot of people never talk about is that once a product is regulated and taxed, you can control the quality of the product and the quality (business) of everything else. No more unregulated garbage coming from who knows where.
And the many, many ways that cannabis can be used shows the potential primary, as well as secondary and cottage industries this plant can create. Everything from public health and regulated health products from pharmaceutical drug options for patients with everything from Autism to Alzheimer's. As well as the potential new restaurants in the food industry. Cannabis infused meals are one of the more popular new events now.
Just doing a cursory search on the Internet you can find the many ways that a legalized cannabis could provide valuable tax dollars to states (as well as districts.) So it's really all up to what the prosecutor, whether it's the attorney general or the local prosecutors to figure out what they want to do about this plant that the majority of Americans has already tried and is a drug that's safer for you than 99% of the legal opioids prescribed by doctors across the entire nation. While drugs like Oxycontin and Xanax are handed out like candy and killing people under 50 at a faster rate than anything else, we are still putting people in prison for selling a plant that has proven medicinal qualities to not only alleviate pain, but to also help a myriad of other diseases and maladies.
The opportunity to see an industry be born is very exciting for anyone interested in legislation and business. There are a lot of people in America who are suffering with chronic diseases and issues who are not getting the help they need, and making sure the government gets cannabis legalization right, and gets it right fast, should be an important issue come election time. You may disagree with legalizing cannabis, but that probably means there's a good chance that you don't know someone it has helped. Seeing someone suffering from cancer and not being able to have a decent quality of life because they can't manage their pain is a public health crisis. This is, at the end of the day, a health issue. Because recreational and medical are so intertwined with people who may not have access to complete medical care, the recreational side of the issue could help their lives tremendously. And isn't that the job of the government at the end of the day? To make sure that their populace is having the highest quality of life possible? And the more it's regulated, the safer we can keep everyone.
While the people of the District of Columbia may not get an electoral college vote, they are all still affected by what the government (who happens to be their neighbor) does with this hot button issue.